Top

blog

Stories

 

St. Louis Judges Reject Gun Court Proposal; Mayor's Office "Disappointed"

Categories: Crime

gun-file-photo-thumb-550x373.jpg
via ROG5728
Rather than getting their own court rooms, gun offender cases will simply be expedited.
After months of lobbying for a fairly major reform in the way the city adjudicates crimes committed with guns, Mayor Francis Slay and his staff found themselves on the receiving end of some harsh words from St. Louis judges yesterday.

The 28 circuit court judges met for their monthly en banc meeting yesterday to decide whether or not to create an "armed offender docket" which would dedicate two courtrooms to nothing but gun crimes with nonviolent outcomes, such as a illegally carrying or discharging a weapon.

Judge Robert Dierker was not a fan of the idea and wagged a finger at the mayor's office for the "unprecedented" amount of lobbying they've done on behalf of it. He also commented the idea would do "unnecessary violence to our method of operation," according to the Post-Dispatch.

See also: Mayor Francis Slay Promotes "Extraordinary Opportunity to Reduce Gun Violence"

The original proposal was written by Judge Jack Garvey and had the backing of Slay, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. Garvey wrote that the gun courts would handle exclusively cases of "Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Flourishing, and Felon in Possession of a Weapon" and robbery in the first degree. The idea, says Slay spokeswoman Maggie Crane, was a little bit like drug court -- these kinds of offenders would not only be sentenced for their crimes but directed to pre- and post-trial services like food stamps or GED classes to reduce recidivism. A sociologist from University of Missouri-St. Louis had also committed to sitting in on each case and collecting data on the outcomes. Read Garvey's original proposal here.

"We can help you with other services so you don't do this again, rather than just the punitive measure," says Crane. "We'd be able to track the outcomes. We'd be able to say high gun bonds do work or, who knows, maybe they don't."

See also: St. Louis Gun Violence: Judge Philip Heagney's Concerns with Armed Offender Docket Idea

However, sixteen judges voted against Garvey's proposal and only eleven for it. They instead opted for Dierker's "substitute" proposal, which leaves the courts organized the way they are now, but mandates that these types of weapons charges get a trial date right away.

"The Court acknowledges the seriousness of offenses involving the illegal use of weapons and is grateful to officers of the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for suggestions concerning management of the criminal docket," writes Dierker. "But the Court notes its constitutional duty to act as a neutral, detached adjudicator of criminal cases."

Dierker writes that UMSL can still get data upon request on the adjudication of these cases. Read Dierker's proposal here.

After the armed offender docket idea was tossed, Slay did not hide his disappointment:

"Today's vote, we really look at it as a step backward," Crane tells Daily RFT. "We think the public deserves better. We think that reform can't be stopped -- the public is going to insist on it."

Circuit Attorney Joyce was not pleased with yesterday's outcome either. After the jump, read her response.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
24 comments
Tessa Smith
Tessa Smith

Stl. County judges are CORRUPT as it gets! They can't handle anything, and apparently are able to stay on benches the people vote the off of, by cheating in the voting system.

Wayne Cardosi
Wayne Cardosi

Just freak'n enforce the laws we have now. Criminals get off to easy. Prison is too nice. Take away the TVs, radios, phones, gym and Internet. They can walk/run in the yard, perform push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups on the pull-up bar. They can talk to their lawyers and family members by letter or in person. Let them have their library and learn a trade skill.

Gordon Green
Gordon Green

If you are too stupid to listen to a pair of 12 year vets Ray Thomas all I can say is who wants to be an iron worker? There was about 60,000 iron worker jobs in America in 2010. There's about 1 and a half million people in the US Armed forces. Seems like a lot more people want to be in the military than want to be like you.

Gordon Green
Gordon Green

Eff you Ray Thomas. My profession is an honorable one made up of volunteers. We don't want criminals who don't want to be there risking our lives. Let the liquor store robbers and rapist and child molesters work with you.

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

**Statement Retracted* I realize my time in the service means nothing to such a narrow mindset. No point in trying to reason using logic.

Bill Moran
Bill Moran

Prohibitive policies dont work for people who have no intention of abiding by the laws. And yes...end the war on drugs that we pretend exists.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Can we ever really completely END gun violence in America? Some call me a cynic but I believe we have passed the point of no return on that one. Does that mean we should just do nothing? Of course not. Ending the war on drugs would collapse the black market in on itself. No different than how the prohibition of alcohol created organized crime our government has clearly waged yet another pointless war which ended up only worsening the problem. If the war on drugs ended tomorrow gun violence in America would drop to shockingly low numbers.

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

ok i agree but that will not end gun violence

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

i would rather serve with forced criminals than be forced to sit next to a criminal on a bus unarmed

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

Ray, I did. I am glad to have served my country. Again, unless you are willing to serve next to criminals who were forced to do so, don't force that fate on others. Bad idea.

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

The war on drugs is a nightmare. Yes, it needs to end.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

The laws and police have not worked in regards to America's drug problem. Are you suggesting we end the war on drugs?

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

Clyde,really who wants to be in the military,,,,and believe me when the shootin starts and their training kicks in they will do what it takes to survive

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

Ray, that is the worst idea. I spent 12+ years in the military. I DO NOT want the guy in the line next to me, whom I will depend on to cover me, to not want to be there. We have a 100% volunteer force, we do not need criminals, especially violent offenders, serving along side with real Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors who actually want to do their job. Get lost with that idea. Unless you are willing to serve right next to a violent criminal, don't say its a good idea.

Bill Moran
Bill Moran

The laws and police havent worked....why would a court?

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

The solution is staring us in the face but our government refuses to do what's right.

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

it beats putting them in time outs in prison

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Yea cause that's what we need....More people who really don't want to serve our country in the military....Seriously what's the worst that could happen?

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

anybody convicted of a gun crime should have to do one full tour of military duty in a war zone overseas,,where they shoot back atya

arnheaded2002
arnheaded2002

i like my idea,anybody convicted of a gun crime ,,has to do at least one full tour of duty OVERSEAS in a war zone where people are shooting back at you and then see how tough you are with a gun

Opinionated314
Opinionated314

@arnheaded2002 Negative..  Are you willing to serve next to a violent criminal in whatever hellhole the government deems necessary this year? We have a volunteer force for that reason.  Every current service member at one time agreed to serve, no one was forced into it. 

Unless you are willing to depend on that criminal to save your life, don't suggest others do so.  Im a 12+year veteran with 3 combat tours, so i have solid ground to sate my opinoon. 

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...